Posted in Misc Notes, Personal Reflections

I Am Sorry: Personal Reflections & Ruminations

       Other people may not agree with me but…. I have felt that I have been “short” and “snippy” with people the last few weeks. If anyone feels that I may have been that way towards you, I want to apologize. I am sincere in that apology; I offer what follows not as an excuse for what has been going on, but more (I guess) an “airing” or maybe “confession.” I’m pretty open when people ask, and (being an extrovert) I’m pretty transparent in what’s going on. This is just me being a little more transparent, but in writing.
       The “holiday” season has always been a difficult one for me for many reasons. I really don’t have many (any?) fond memories of this time. This is the time where I lost two people in my life who I felt closest to and who’s passing still hurts (see my blog on this: Though both of these deaths were decades apart, they ended up being just a few days apart (Dec 12, 1977 & Dec 17, 2009).
       The holiday season was always a reminder of how we were poor when I was growing up, and a time when we (my siblings and I) were reminded of all we didn’t have….no dad…no money….no stability. To a great degree that thread continues for me to this day. While I don’t care about money and “things” and I do have stability in that I have a safe place to live and not worries, I am constantly reminded of that which I don’t have and may never have. That thing is the thing that is the focus of any and all holidays: family. Family is what holidays are about! You spend time with siblings, parents, spouses, grand parents, grand children, etc, etc, etc… I have siblings, a mother who still lives, aunts, uncles and cousins, but we have never been close despite efforts to change that.
       Though she broke my heart…badly….I am grateful to my friend Sam James, for helping me to realize that “family” and “connection” are what I have sought in all my failed marriages. I am jealous of (and have always been) people with large, close families. This year, I feel more alone than ever, even tough I am surrounded by more people and more close friends than ever. At the same time, I hear how more and more of those around me are connecting with their bigger and bigger families. For obvious reasons (or what I hope are obvious) this is making this holiday sting more.
       While a lack of connection and family hurt, I am grateful for it at the same time. With disconnection to a place or thing, it is easier to walk away. If I chose to go overseas and travel or study…or move permanently…there is no connection calling me back, or holding me here. It’s the old adage of a double-edge sword in that it frees and cuts away what is in front of you, but also cuts and hurts you.
       I don’t expect sympathy or for people to go out of their way for me. I guess I just want a little understanding. I freely offer to all my friends (and most of you have availed yourself) my ear to listen and my shoulder to cry on. You all will always have it. I guess the real point of this is to 1) ask for understanding and forgiveness, 2) organize and sort through my own thoughts and feelings, and 3) use your ears (eyes?) and shoulders to cry on for a few minutes.
       I look back on 2017 and so much has happened…I’ll sit and reflect on this in the days ahead…but the thought that sits heavily and prominently in my mind is that I started 2017 with an unusual heaviness on my heart….weeping and grieving for what I felt was coming in 2017, though I really had no idea. As we approach the end of 2017, I realize I’m feeling the same kind of grief, but not for what’s to come…..but just ….grief. My 2017 “bookends” are tears, and that is my 2017. I hope that 2018, however, starts and ends with laughter, because…
“One good cry a day is enough; the rest of the day must be devoted to laughter.”
– K.T. Klay, 2017-
Posted in Life and Encouragement, Misc Notes, Personal Reflections, The Arts-Poetry

Hearts (Poem) by K. T. Klay

Hearts were made to beat

Hearts were made to love

Hearts were made to be filled

With all that good things are made of


Hearts are made to guide

Hearts were made to cherish

Hearts were not made

to beat alone.


Hearts were not made to be broken

Hearts were not made to hurt

Harts were not made to be crushed

By pain, loneliness, and rejection.


But, half a heart is not a whole


A heart cannot be cold

A heart cannot be made of stone

A heart should not be made

To cry out a sorrow-filled tone


I must go on

I’m still alive

Though without a heart

How may I survive

I must be strong

I must be tough

I must keep my heart soft

and warm to the touch

© 2017 K.T. Klay


Posted in Personal Reflections

Contending with the Cold, Claws of Death

Through our lives, we all will experience the death of a loved one. Death can be so different for each person as they lose someone they love, and for each person who slips away.  I have lost many friends and loved ones through the years.  There are those who have passed I still mourn like Robin Williams, and Leonard Nemoy; men who had a profound effect on my life. There are, however, two deaths that I remember and that still affect me in a deep and profound way; these are the passing of my father, and my “grandmother-in-love,” Annie (or Anne) Taylor.

It was a warm day that December as I trudged home from school. I was walking home from second grade; a journey I took daily. As I rounded the corner onto my street, I looked up at the magnificent dwelling I called home. Being six-years old, I really didn’t appreciate the majesty of where we lived, the elegance that greeted my eye. The house was a three story adobe mansion near the top of the hill. In fact, there was only one house higher up on that hill than ours. I gazed up at the 10-foot retaining wall surrounding the down-hill side of our home, I breathed a sigh of relief in anticipation of the fact that I’d be home, soon. I looked past the bushes and trees along the corners and up at the ivory towers, with black rod iron porches jutting from it; this was home.   I looked toward my room; it was the highest point in the house, with double French doors that opened out onto the flat roof/porch outside my room.  It meant nothing to me then, but I could see the Rio Grande River and the city of Juarez, Mexico from my spacious porch.   Just a few weeks before, we had visited that city and purchased “touristy items.”  I thought about the serape and bamboo snake that I had gotten there.  It was almost time for winter break, and I’d have time to play with my toys, rather than going to the school I hated.   I thought about this, as I climbed the winding snake-like path that the steps took as I ascended to the front door of the house.   I opened the large, wooden door to enter my home, totally unaware of the fact that all I held dear was about to come crashing down.

I stepped into the large, regal, plush room that was the den. The burgundy velvet curtains that framed the front windows seemed heavier, bloodier than normal.  The large fireplace that engulfed the south wall seemed to be frozen in a silent, screaming, gape instead of breathing warm life into the room. The grand chandelier that normally twinkled like stars in the sky, seemed to be a cold, frozen spider web that hovered in space. The opening to the dining room seemed to expand in front of me like a dark cavern, rather than the shining cornucopia of abundance that it normally was.  On a couch in the corner sat my Aunt Faye and Uncle Jim, “What are they doing here?”  I soon had my answer; my mother came in and whisked me like a gale-force wind to my parents’ bedroom. If I thought things were cold before, I was about to find that they could become much colder.

“Your father was in a car accident on the way back from a job. He’ll be OK, but he’s got a broken arm and legs, and he’s got some broken ribs.  He’s going to be OK, but it’s gonna take time for him to get better and we’ll just have to be patient.” Looking back, I think she was trying to assure herself more than me or my siblings. “Aunt Faye and Uncle Jim are going to stay with you kids, and I’m going to go see your father, tonight. I’ll see you, tomorrow.”   With that, she left.  The rest of the day was a blur.  Even the next morning is much a blur.   What was happening to my life? How can a six-year old child understand the complexities of what was happening? Ready or not, I was about to find out. If that day had been a sudden onset of winter, the next day would become a dark, deep-freeze.

I awoke the next morning, and came down stairs to find my mother home; more somber, but less frenzied than the day before. Again, she whisked me away to the bedroom my parents had shared. We sat on the end of their bed, and her disembodied voice assaulted my ears with the cold, quiet words, “Your father has gone home to be with Jesus.”  I didn’t know what to feel or what to say, my mother thought she did, though, “You’re the man of the house, now.”   None of those words meant anything to me.   Didn’t want Jesus or God or anyone else to have my dad.   I didn’t want to be, or even know how to be, “the man of the house.”   I just wanted my daddy.   Forty years later, I still cry and weep.  I still miss my daddy. I imagine that he sees me and is pleased with me, though I hold no real hope of ever seeing him.  Maybe mom found comfort in thinking daddy lived with Jesus, but I can’t. Is dad in some heavenly place? I don’t know.

I think that if anyone might be, however, it may be my “grandmother-in-love,” Anne Taylor. Anne was the grandmother of an ex-spouse of mine. Anne adored me and vice versa.  In a matter of speaking, she adopted me; I was the grandson she had always wanted but never had.  As things happened, I also was her primary medical care provider before she died.  Her passing still touches me.

I sat in the surprisingly comforting convalescent home room. My hand held the soft, warm hand of Grandma Anne; Her eyes were closed and her breathing was slow, shallow, and rhythmic. Anne had just turned 98 a month before.  She had been social, and active all of the six months she had been in the residential care facility, until two days ago.  My wife and I had gotten a call that she was listless and quiet.  The next day we got a call that she was not waking up and we, “may want to get down here quickly if you want to say goodbye,” the nurse had said.  Anne had an order that we were not to take steps to keep her alive in the event of her death.  I was the executor of her medical power of attorney and now I sat, waiting to fulfill her wishes.

Her face was peaceful as she lay in the white bed sheets. My wife sat beside me gushing about how much she’d miss her grandma if she dies, but also saying how she’d be OK because she had me.  After 20 minutes of listening to my wife talking, I drew Anne’s hand to my lips and kissed it.  It was warm and soft beneath my lips. I leaned forward and kissed her forehead; it felt soft, and normal….not cold, not feverish…normal.  I whispered to her, “It’s OK, Grandma Anne.   You can go.”  It seems that her hand gave me a slight squeeze, as if to say, “Thank you for everything.”  I could be mistaken, but it seemed that a slight smile crossed her lips.   She drew in a final breath, and let it out as I watched.   I felt for a moment that I was looking at a photograph; everything stopped.  The room slowed, I stared, transfixed and cold, still holding Anne’s hand.  Over the next few moments, it seemed that there was an exchange that happened; I warmed, Anne’s hand grew cold, and the room sped up.   Did her spirit give me a hug as she left? The nurse behind called out a time for the record, but I did not hear; I just sat in silence.

I often sit and reflect back on these experiences. Both events happened in December, shortly before Christmas.  Both were major confrontations with death.  Yet, they were so different, and have affected me so differently.  Dad’s passing left chaos and pain. Annie’s passing left behind a sense of peace, wholeness, and completion, as odd as that may sound. When I pass, I can only hope it as peacefully as Anne did.  I hope that I will leave a legacy of change and wholeness, and that others will think back on me with fond memories.


Posted in Life and Encouragement, Misc Notes, Personal Reflections

Priorities & Love

I just finished watching the movie CLOVERFIELD, and I’m moved to tell you all, “I love you.” To some, this may seem like an odd statement.  Let me explain.

Whether you have seen it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, CLOVERFIELD is a movie about disaster, loss, and love. Yes, there is a huge monster destroying Manhattan, but the story is about people.  I live in Mendocino County, in Northern California.  As I write this, Mendocino, Napa, Lake, Solano, Marin, and other counties around me are experiencing disasters and fires that they’ve probably never before seen.  All around me whole neighborhoods are being wiped away by fire.  Lives are being destroyed, people die, and everything people  have worked for is destroyed.  This is very much what is happening in the movie CLOVERFIELD.

Until disaster strikes around you, a movie like CLOVERFIELD may seem farfetched. To me, as I sit in the middle of disaster, it is all too real.  I sit and look at the world around me.  Neighborhoods are destroyed by fire.  We just had a 3.8 earthquake.  Around the world war is raging.  The United States is falling apart, as foreign countries actively pushed to destroy us.  Nuclear capable countries threaten to nuke us off the map; something I believe will happen.

As seen in CLOVERFIELD, and in the recent events in my area, disaster strikes quickly and with little or no notice. As I watch the destruction unfolding before me in the movie and in real life I realize that life is short.  Things are just things, and  they can be replaced; but people and relationships cannot.  As I watch lives being snuffed out of around me, and in front of me (in the movie), I realize any life can end in an instant.  It is all too real.  It is all too fresh.

If every possession around me was gone, what would be left? People would be left!  But what if the life of an irreplaceable person next to me was snuffed out, gone?  What would my memory of last thing I said to them be?  If my life were to suddenly be snuffed out, what would people remember?

“I love you.” My friends, I love you all. You are all precious to me.  “I love you,” I see it as a heterosexual male…  “I love you.” I do not expect ever be in another romantic relationship, but I say, “I love you.” All I want is to see you all happy…  To see you all succeed…  To let you know you are not alone…  To let you know you are special…  I love you without expectation of it being reciprocated.  Just know that you are loved, you are cared for, you are special, and you would be missed if anything ever happened to you.…and I hope it never does.  Live Long and Prosper in All Things that are Good.

K.T. Klay

Posted in Life and Encouragement, Misc Notes


I enjoy being alone….and I don’t.

I cherish the time to be alone….and think….and process….and think….and plan….and think….and reflect….and think…..and sing….and plan….and think…and sing…and dance….and sing….and think….and write…and laugh….and cry…and think….

Through all life, I’ve found I need the time alone, but I also need the time with people. I need the time to share what’s happened and what’s happening….to bounce thoughts and ideas off people….to laugh, make laugh, and forget…. Then I must be alone to think….and process….and think….and plan….and think….and reflect….and think…..and sing….and plan….and think…and sing…and dance….and sing….and think….and write…and laugh….and cry…and think…. At times, I just sit and cry.

I’ve been at my most creative when I’m alone….made the most amazing discoveries, had the most profound thoughts…..then I’m with someone and they ask me a question about myself….something I think I know…or maybe I don’t really know… and I walk away to be alone….and think….and process….and think….and plan….and think….and reflect….and think…..and sing….and plan….and think…and sing…and dance….and sing….and think….and write…and laugh….and cry…and think…. and come up with insight into myself and situations that blow me away.


I’ve been alone, divorced, to over 2 years, now. There’s been a lot of growth and self-discovery in that time. The plays I’ve been in have allowed for tremendous growth and self-discovery….and healing. One day, someone who “makes my cells dance” when I’m around will come to me and say, “My life is unfulfilling and incomplete when you’re not around. Stay in my life and let me be a part of yours.” Until that day comes, I’ll be alone….and think….and process….and think….and plan….and think….and reflect….and think…..and sing….and plan….and think…and sing…and dance….and sing….and think….and write…and laugh….and cry…and think….

Posted in Crazy Mishaguyas, Misc Notes, Political Mishaguyas

I’ve got a CRAZY idea!

I’ve got a CRAZY idea!

Here it is: Let’s end “White Supremacy” by reaching worldwide “White Equality”!

In other words, everyone in the world will have the same power, privilege, status, pay, and “equality” as the average white male has had for centuries!

Let’s give all people of all sexual orientations, and preferences, the same preferential treatment that the “White Hetero-Sexual” male has enjoyed since time began.

Let’s finally treat others BETTER than the way we want to be treated, and treat each other with MORE respect than we expect.

I think that when the citizens and leaders of our world start to look at the other person (or people) as better than themselves, that we will finally achieve full equality, peace, and prosperity.

Of course, that wouldn’t be “White Supremacy,” but rather “World Wide Supremacy”…or “World Wide Equality” or maybe “World Peace.”

I know that it’s a CRAZY idea, but maybe it’s an idea who’s time has come?

No other “rational” ideas seem to work, so maybe it’s time to try a CRAZY one…and maybe we’d find it’s not so crazy after all….and that’s no mishaguyas!

Posted in Crazy Mishaguyas, Life and Encouragement, Misc Notes, The Arts-Poetry

POEM: The Miracle of Love (1990)

Found this as I was sorting through old files.   I wrote this in high school, a long time ago, in a gal…err…city far away.


The Miracle of Love

by Kevin Klay (May, 1990)


All our lives we search,

We search for that one missing piece;

The one special person who will love us,    Love us enough to want to be with us,

Be with us for the rest of our life.


We wait patiently,    Sometimes impatiently,

Watching,    Waiting,


Will I always be alone?

Is there anyone out there who can love me?

We cry.


Just when we give up hope, When we start to accept our fate,

Lonely solitude;

A miracle happens:

The miracle of love.


God’s love has created that special one

And carries that one to us

And our life becomes complete.


K.T Klay (c)1990

Posted in The Arts-Poetry

POETRY: “Used & Discarded (like a phophylatic)” by K.T Klay

NOTE: Both men and women can be victims of the one-sided sexual desires of another human being who is only out to satisfy themselves.  This was written from my point of view, as an expression of how I have felt after being in abusive, negligent, one-sided sexual encounters.  These were not one night stands, but supposedly loving committed (post-ceremony) relationships. Feel free to let me know if you’ve ever felt the same.




What?!?!  That’s it?   Well….I guess that’s all I am good for.

Here I lay…used…discarded…….dirty.

Once, I felt important.   Once, I felt beautiful.   Once, I felt useful.   I sat and waited…

I waited for the day when someone else might see that same importance, beauty, and usefulness in me.

Oh, how I dreamed of that day….how I anticipated it….I longed for it….you might even say I hungered for it.

When I saw you had seen me, I was so happy!  You saw me….you see me… selected me……   I am so elated….so excited…. the day is here where I will finally serve my purpose!  I will experience all I’ve longed for…all that I have craved…all that I was made for….I will finally be complete…whole.

I was wrong, though.  I was deceived.  I was misled.

Together we went…..into the heat….into the passion…all our wrappings came off…..all the adornment….. we stand before each other and with each other and together… raw…. naked.  Together we come…. we connect….. we moan…. we pant ….we grind…. oh the ecstasy …..  you peak….you quake….you quiver….you grunt, moan….groan….

You lie still for a moment….you got what you wanted….you got what you needed.  It’s my turn…..I’m getting close…ooohhh….huhh?

You throw me off and toss me aside.   “Wait!”  “I’m not done!”  “Oh….OK….well, can’t we cuddle…can’t we talk?”

Here I lay as you walk away…. I am covered with your secretions and mine…..dirty….dripping…oozing..ostracized…slippery….slimy…..unsanitary….undesirable.

Realization hits….reality sets in…harsh and bitter.  To you, I was nothing special…I was  a tool…. I was a toy…. I was an object for your pleasure…your satisfaction…I was and am inhuman…unimportant…unloved…devalued….discarded.

Like a used prophylactic, I am discarded…..tossed aside…spent and used…..dirty….unloved…..unvalued……unadored……unadorned.

I am not a toy….I am not a prophylactic….I am a human being…I have feelings….I have needs and desires!  I don’t ask for much….I don’t need much….I don’t desire much.

Love me!  Cherish Me! Value Me!  Pleeease!!!!

Oh, no!   You’re back…..and you’ve got that look in your eye…..again.

Posted in Life and Encouragement, Misc Notes, The Arts-Theatre (Live)

The Character and Me: Norbert Garstecki

This is the first of what I hope will be an ongoing series of blogs on characters in productions (Live Theatre, Movies, TV, Etc.) where I plan to write about how I can (or can’t) relate to the character and choices they make.  I’ll admit, this is the most difficult blog I think I have ever planned on and then written.

I am currently playing the part of Norbert Garstecki in the play The Great American Trailer Park Musical.  This part is a “first” for me in so many ways, and it’s also the most difficult part I’ve ever played.  As the name of the play implies, the play is a musical and it is the first one I have ever done.  The play is the first one I’ve ever done at the venue.  It’s also the first time I’ve played a character like Norbert.  While there are some ways that I can totally relate to Norbert, there are sooooo many ways I can’t…or at least I didn’t think I could…until tonight.

Norbert Garstecki is a middle age man who has made some poor decisions that brought him to the place he is in the show.  Norbert was a star athlete on his high school football team.  His eye is caught by the beautiful and alluring star “mathlete” (star of the math team and perhaps the math club) Jeanie.  Norbert gets together with Jeanie so she can tutor him in the Geometry class he is failing; the sparks fly and the passion kicks in.   As is so common with hormonal teenagers, they fail to take appropriate precautions and Jeanie becomes pregnant.  Following a “shotgun” wedding, Norbert and Jeanie move into a trailer park and try to live as adults…even though they are not ready.  To this effect, they quit school, Norbert gets a job and Jeanie stays home with the baby.  A few years later, Norbert becomes careless while caring their son, and the baby gets taken. The trauma causes Jeanie to develop Agoraphobia which is a fear of going into public places.  For twenty years Jeanie refuses to come out of the trailer that she and Norbert live in.  Norbert continues to stick by his beloved bride but after nearly twenty years, his patience is gone.  Norbert is broken hearted as his lover has become more of a roommate.  Norbert misses being close to his lover and misses going places with her. He longs to have the passion and connection back that he once had with his friend, lover, bride, his wife….Jeanie.   As the play begins, Norbert is storming out…he’s at his wits end and just doesn’t know where to go or what to do; he’s exhausted every mean and method he can figure out.

Norbert longs to have the passion, and connection back with Jeanie and misses the fiery, energy filled “go-getter” that he married.  Soon, however, Norbert meets Pippi.  Pippi is the new girl in town, the new girl in the park, an exotic dancer, and has all the qualities and characteristics that he once saw and misses so much in his wife, Jeanie.  Needless to say, passion and fire flair and turn into a full-blown affair.  Norbert has made a lot of bad choices in his life, and this is probably the biggest.  Try as he might, the affair is not hidden from the neighbors, and eventually Norbert gets caught “in the act” with Pippi.  I won’t tell you too much more, but will simply say that the remainder of the play looks at the struggles of Norbert as he sorts through what he’s done and the feelings he has for both women, Pippi as she seeks to find some stability and connection with Norbert, and Jeanie as she struggles with what she should do about the affair and with her fear of leaving her “safe” trailer.

I said before that I, personally, can and can’t understand Norbert and his behavior.  Let me tell you first the ways I can relate to Norbert.  Now, you’re about to learn a lot more about me that you may EVER want to know, but here it goes… When I was in high school, I was a kind of “Big man On Campus,” though it didn’t start that way.  I was never a sports star, but I became involved in student government in my Junior year.  My senior year, I lived on my own and supported myself while doing countless activities on campus…things that did not go un-noticed.  I wanted to become a radio DJ and had a bright future ahead.  I received several scholarships and had the chance to go into college and then into radio.  I had even been given a scholarship from a local radio station and an offer of an internship at the station once I was in college.  Like Norbert, I had a promising future….but I fell in love.  Unlike Norbert, I did not get anyone pregnant…I had enough sense to put on protection when I finally “gave myself away.”  Like Norbert, however, I moved away from all the promise and potential.  I put my life (desires and future) on hold for “family.”

I don’t know about Norbert, but My family life was not good growing up.  My father was a professional photographer who excelled in his field.  Three months before he was killed in a car accident, his accountant had told him he’d be a millionaire in six months if he kept going the way he was.  We buried my dad on his 34th birthday.  My family was never close and my mother had mental…issues.  The one thing I always craved and was jealous of were the big, close families.  Rather than perusing my dreams, I continued to peruse “family.”  There’s a line in the opening of the Great American Trailer park Musical that states, “‘Ain’t no sense wanting what you can’t have; no sense dreaming like a fool.”  I wish I could have given myself that advice…and taken it…when I was young.  Call me a fool, but I kept wanting what it seems I couldn’t have: a big, close family. I ended up being engaged twice before finally getting married.

Yea, I’ve been married.  Norbert’s been married once.  I was married four times, and divorced the same.  As an actor, I believe I have to make it big in Hollywood because 4 divorces is a requirement to even get into the industry (just kidding).  I can relate to Norbert putting his family first; it’s what I believe any real man will do. Now, Jeanie (Norbert’s one and only bride) developed a mental disorder after they were married.  I have to say that I can relate here; My first wife had a multiple personality disorder known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, the second was Obsessive-Compulsive as well as being addicted to booze and drugs, my third had Asperger Syndrome as well as being Bipolar, and my third had Bipolar, Depression and Munchausen Syndrome.  Like Norbert, I understand what it means to be married to someone with a mental illness.  My last three wives’ spent almost all their time planted in front of a television, much like Norbert’s wife Jeanie does.

In The Great American Trailer Park Musical (GATPM), there’s a point where Norbert states, “I can count on one finger the amount of kisses we’ve shared in the last five years.”  Norbert is an affectionate guy, as am I , but he’s in a marriage where there is no longer any affection or love.   All mine were like that.  Norbert, I understand….except where I don’t. Now we start to get into the places where I have really struggled with playing Norbert.

Norbert meets Pippi and eventually a torrid, hot, passionate love affair starts.  I have struggled with this sooooo hard.  It’s taken me a long time to even begin to understand Norbert because this is where we have really differed.  In all four of my marriages, I had opportunity and invite to become involved with another woman.  Believe me, I was tempted to cheat, just as Norbert is.  In my case, I (being the ever dying romantic, and a man who does everything possible to try and be true to my word) chose to remain faithful to my bride.  I made a promise to be faithful, and I was.  So it’s been a real struggle for me to “cheat” on my “bride” in the show, even though she’s only a bride for the show.  “How can I justify,” I ask myself, “cheating on a woman I swore to be faithful to?”  It has always been a struggle for me to wrap my mind around why someone cheats on their spouse.  If you can’t endure living with them, then get a divorce!  That’s what I did!   Maybe you look down on me for breaking my promise to stand by them faithfully forever.  I simply will respond that when your “other” is unfaithful, abusive, or destructive that it is time to get out.  When respect and trust are so far decimated that there is no hope of ever getting them back, then it’s time to get out.

I will give Norbert credit where credit is deserved:  Norbert sticks with Jeanie for 20 years. If you add up all the years I’ve been married, I’m ashamed to say that I fall far short of that.

Why does Norbert cheat?  I didn’t understand, but now I think I do.

I believe that Norbert is like me in that he holds a sense of responsibility to his bride.  I believe he loves her and wants/hops to see the woman he fell in love with come back.  Norbert is a romantic, I believe.  He holds the faith that the woman he loves is “still in there” and will come out “any day now.”  Norbert tries to woo Jeanie out to do things with him.  As it happens, Norbert finds someone who is everything Jeanie was, but is them NOW.  How beautiful is a woman who is confident, driven, a go-getter, in touch with their wants, needs and desires, and who doesn’t really need you…but want’s you around just because they feel happy around you!  Isn’t that what life is all about…finding someone who will love you for you and doesn’t need or want anything from you but you because they are sufficient for and comfortable with themselves? “So what if he’s plain, and a Rockefeller he’s not…He’s got a beat up old car, I have to hold the door closed when we go out (in it) …” Pippi sings of Norbert, “…but he’s my tallest star, don’t care who you are… it’s alright as long as I’m with him and he’s with me.”   Who wouldn’t want someone to love you like that?  Don’t we all want to be loved for who we are, where we are, and have someone be “complete” just by being around us?

I’m really starting to understand!  In fact, I was in tears at tonight’s show…”real, American tears” streamed down my face as I felt Norbert’s struggle. Norbert is torn between these two amazing women that he has fallen in love with!  One is here, now, with him…loving him as he is.  This one is  strong, sexy, vivacious, at his side…and everything (NOW) that the other love was (back them) and he hope to see again.  On the other side, the woman he swore to be faithful to, the woman he has spent 20 years with, the mother of his child, the love of his life…the woman who was (and he hopes will be again) everything that the other woman is right now!  “My God!”, I said to myself, “I understand why Norbert cheated!  I understand why he is struggling and what he is struggling with!”  Now, intellectually, I kinda got it….I have an improvised monologue that I’ve extrapolated from a song I (Norbert) sings that I expanded on……but tonight I really got it.  Tonight, I felt the struggle, saw the lives, saw the history and the fights and the scenes that came between the scenes we see in the play…..I got it.  I now understand why Norbert cheats….but I don’t condone it.

Now I want to say, if someone has cheated on you, don’t just throw them out, but don’t just take them back, either.   Make them earn your trust and respect back; if they want to and if you are willing to.

While I never cheated on any of my wives, I did have one who cheated on me….apparently, quite a few times.  I did give her a chance to redeem herself, but ultimately had to terminate the relationship. “Here’s the cord.  You cut it, “I said, “and you’ll never see me again…or we can work this out.  The choice is yours.” She cut the cord, but tried to come back later….nope….sorry.  So I say what I say having gone through it.  I was not the cheating spouse, but rather the cheated on.

Norbert was a hard character for me to get in touch with.  Usually, I have played comical characters and/or comic relief.  I’ve had major roles where I played a “clueless” husband (See How They Run) or a frantic fiancée (Arsenic and Old Lace).  The roles I’ve played have typically been easy for me to pull off. In the play The Dining Room, I played a whole slew of characters including a cheating husband(but I was “cheating” with the woman who really was my wife at that time) and the only other role where I cried on stage.  “Norbert” has forced me to pull from all the other characters and roles I’ve played, PLUS pull on real-life experience, AND manufacture things to connect it all.

As Norbert, I’ve had to do things that I normally wouldn’t and were really hard for me.  Laugh if you must, but I had to grab “high school” Jeanie’s ass and stare at Pippi’s boobs popping out of her shirt.  Even with approval AND encouragement from the actresses playing the parts, I struggles with this because these are against MY character.  Call me old-fashioned, but I want to be close to someone and get to know them really well before I even begin to think in that direction.  Even if/when I’m at that point in a relationship, I’d have a time doing those things in public.  I believe that it stems from the way I was raised and from trauma I’ve experienced earlier in life.  That’s a story for another day.

To sum things up, out of the 18 shows I have done over the last four years, Norbert Garstecki has been the most challenging, not only because it’s my first time doing a musical, but because it’s my first time playing a character that is so different from me, my beliefs, my values, and my character.  Playing him has, however, given me a deeper understanding and sympathy for people in other situations as well as helped me reach places in me that I didn’t know were there.

That’s no mishaguyas.


Posted in The Arts-Poetry

POEM: The Turmoil, by K.T. Klay

The Turmoil


K.T Klay

Oh the things I’ve seen

And the lessons I’ve learned

How they tear at me

How I long to be with

and without

                                                the turmoil that

throws its pale shadow over

           all that is now…

To be able to be open and vulnerable and real

without the miles-thick walls and gates that surround me now

To experience the wonder of human connection

without the wonder of how long til the pain and betrayal

To experience the wonder of a new life

without wondering how long til it is destroyed … corrupted

To look on pain and death and disaster and destruction and…and helplessness

and feel sadness for them

and not sadness that I feel nothing for them

To feel the softness of a human touch

without the fear and anticipation of the pain it will bring

To feel alone and not feel safer and more comfortable than

when I am with those with whom I should feel safe and comfortable

To not have miles of impenetrable walls surrounding me

Oh the lessons I have learned

and the things that I have seen

© 2016 K.T. Klay